Republican Senators Vote to Block a Bill to Disclose Dark-Money Donors
By: Bryan Metzger, Oma Seddiq (Business Insider)
gotta protect that fascist money laundering operation...
Republican senators on Thursday voted to block a bill that would have required so-called dark money groups to disclose their donors, hindering Democrats' efforts to increase transparency in elections.
The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act targets political nonprofit groups and super PACs, requiring them to reveal donors who have contributed more than $10,000 during an election cycle. The measure also applies to groups that spend money on ads supporting or opposing judicial nominees.
The bill failed to advance as 49 Republicans voted against it. Republican Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho did not vote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer first introduced the bill in 2010 and Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island has re-introduced it in every Congress since, after the landmark 2010 Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision allowed outside groups to spend unlimited sums of money on elections.
Nonprofits are not legally obligated to disclose their donors. Super PACs, on the other hand, are subject to federal campaign finance disclosure laws, but their funding often comes from dark money groups.
Whitehouse told Insider on Wednesday that he believes the GOP's widespread opposition is a demonstration of the party's dependency on dark money.
"Unfortunately, the Republican party has become as dependent on dark money as a deep-sea diver is on his air hose," said Whitehouse. "And so even though my colleagues know that the public hates this stuff, they try to respond to that hatred with their own efforts to paint us as a dark-money party. They have no choice but to vote against the DISCLOSE Act and protect their dark-money donors."
Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island at a hearing on Capitol Hill on April 4, 2022. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
A long-running battle
This is not the first time Republicans have successfully blocked the bill from reaching the necessary 60 votes to open debate on legislation: it's happened at least 10 times in the past 12 years, including with two standalone votes in 2010, two in 2012, and as an amendment to the budget in 2015.
More recently, a version of the legislation was included in the Democratic-led For the People Act, a sweeping elections and campaign finance bill that Republicans blocked last year.
A particularly strong opponent of the bill is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who once compared efforts to disclose dark money groups' donors to the "creation of a modern day Nixonian enemies list." He reiterated his opposition on Wednesday morning, saying the bill would "erode the First Amendment."
Insider spoke with a handful of Republican senators at the Capitol about their opposition to the bill ahead of the vote.
Both Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas invoked the 1958 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama Supreme Court decision, which blocked the state of Alabama — then largely led by segregationist Democrats — from forcing the NAACP's local affiliate to disclose its membership lists, arguing that members had the right to "pursue their lawful private interests privately."
"Racist Democrats wanted to go after the NAACP and persecute their supporters," Cruz said. "Democrats have wanted to do this for a long time."
"That's the lens through which I think about this and analyze this," Hawley said, arguing that broad donor disclosure would somehow be "weaponized" by Democrats. "I don't want to see them doxxed, and hassled, and harried, and harmed, and that's what this bill is about."
Whitehouse scoffed at the argument, which Republicans and conservatives have made repeatedly over the years.
"If you can't tell the difference between a regular member of the NAACP in the Jim Crow South, with organized violence constant," Whitehouse said, "and a secretive billionaire donor manipulating American democracy through a phony front group, it's gonna be very hard to explain any reality to you."
"There clearly is just a massive, massive difference," he added.
Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas at a hearing on Capitol Hill on April 4, 2022. Win McNamee/Getty Images
A bipartisan problem
Since the Citizens United ruling 12 years ago, dark money spending has exploded in elections. Nonprofits have poured around $2 billion into elections, most of which can be linked to dark money groups, OpenSecrets found. The 2020 election cycle alone saw $1 billion in dark money spending, with most of those contributions benefitting Democrats, though dark money has long aided Republicans.
Cruz and Hawley also mentioned that Democrats benefit from dark money spending just like Republicans, which President Joe Biden noted when he promoted the bill in a speech on Tuesday.
"I believe sunlight is the best disinfectant. And I acknowledge it's an issue for both parties," Biden said. "But here's the key difference: Democrats in the Congress support more openness and accountability."
Whitehouse has called out dark money spending both on the left and right, though he's has long held that conservatives have managed to use dark money to effectively push forward their interests, particularly at the judicial level with the nomination of conservative justices to the Supreme Court. His bill would have required groups that spend money supporting or opposing judicial nominees to disclose their donors.
Additionally, Whitehouse's bill applies regardless of political affiliations, and sets the threshold for disclosure at $10,000, ensuring that only the more wealthy and powerful political donors would have faced public scrutiny.
And donors are already required to disclose their identities when they give to candidates' campaigns or other political action committees regulated by the Federal Election Commission.
When pressed on whether there's any threshold at which it's in the public interest to know who's contributing to political causes, Cruz deflected.
"So at what threshold should George Soros' contributions be public?" the senator said, referring to the Democratic megadonor and billionaire.
Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama outside the Senate chamber on August 1, 2022. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Among the senators voting to block the bill was Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, who was not aware of its content when Insider asked him about it on Tuesday but spoke favorably of the idea when it was explained to him.
"I'm not against people being identified, I'll tell you that," he said. "There's so much money put into this, in this business." Though he noted that he had yet to read the bill. "I'm saying that, but I gotta look at the text to see all the details," Tuberville added.
gee, why would the wealthy rwnj benefactors wish to remain anonymous?
Because they are evil entities
I can't change my comments once I've posted, not allowed to edit so that's the wrong link below.
It was the church lady saying who could it be 'Satan!'
Trump Inadvertently Helps Judge Deny Mike Lindell’s Bid to Get Seized Phone Back
MyPillow Founder and CEO Mike Lindell won’t be getting his phone back, District Court Judge Eric C. Tostrud ruled on Thursday, citing, in part, the overturning of a restraining order previously granted to Trump in the Justice Department’s investigation of the former president’s document-hoarding in Mar-a-Lago.
Lindell had filed a complaint for a temporary restraining order and “return of property” after his phone was seized last week by the FBI in connection with an investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Lindell argued that lack of access to his phone harmed both his pillow business and his personal health, noting that his phone was linked to his hearing aid.
yeah, the wrong place.
I have to laugh at all the idiots donating to donald. I just read an article where he is again just using his pac to fund personal expenses like Melania's fashion designer.
People don't want to lose their gravy train.
Citizens United fucked us up.
yes, yes it did
Who donates to dark money funds legitimately
Ask the Democrats. They crush the Republicans in dark money donations.
"Of donations and spending reported to the FEC, liberal groups directed more than $514 million in dark money into the 2020 election, overshadowing around $200 million that boosted Republicans. "
you are correct from what i read earlier, but the past history i believe has Republicans receiving more
It's good to know that the Republicans are protecting the Dems....Either the repubs are dumber than rocks or there is a lot more dark money floating around than we know about.
utraged by the damn gop's self dealing...
It's high comedy you think opposing a law that would help them is "self dealing"
Ssshhhhhh!!! You're not supposed to tell the reason why the gap between the wealthy and the poor keeps widening. The wealthy donors and the politicians they support makes me think of George Orwell's Animal Farm.
Describe for us how the wealthy in America keep the poor from moving up the socioeconomic ladder.
Did I say the wealthy in America keep the poor from moving up the socioeconomic ladder? I don't think I said that, so why do I have to describe it? My point was about the relationship between the politicians and the wealthy Americans, where the wealthy provide dark money to the politicians and the politicians reward them with legislation that benefits them. The rich get richer, and the poor stagnate. It is the wealthy and the politicians who are looking more and more like each other, in contrast to the poor who are not going anywhere.
Wealth gap postpandemic | Deloitte Insights
"US wealth inequality is becoming more entrenched after the COVID-19 recession as the divide between asset “haves and have-nots” becomes greater—with home and stock ownership being the largest contributors to the growing gap. Between February 2020 and April 2022, median home prices rose by 45% and stock portfolio values grew by 40%, 1 boosting the wealth of those who owned homes and stock holdings but leaving those who did not further behind."
Has Wealth Inequality in America Changed over Time? Here Are Key Statistics
Crooks, Liars, and Thieves being exposed and who is willing to put them in charge of governing this great nation? SHAME ON YOU! Really, America?!
You deserve what you get when you allow charlatans and con-people to hold on to power, influence, and leadership. Vote for the good of all!
Republicans-conservatives only want power so as to sit in the middle of a progressive stream and dam it up! Or worse, to take away liberties, freedoms, and privileges bestowed on the citizenry by virtue of being a member of our society.
Remember this well, conservatives are coming for your liberties and freedoms, for sure! They have basically told you/us to watch out for them!
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